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Old 12-07-2012, 07:25 PM   #1
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Set it and forget it smoker?

I'm thinking of buying a smoker for someone. That someone is not going to want to play with the learning curve of maintaining correct pit temps, so I'm ruling charcoal and wood out. Nothing that needs the heat source played with or the vents fiddled with very much. That leaves me propane or electric. And I've never seen an electric smoker that produced a good smoke ring in colder outside temps. Not the cheaper ones anyway. I imagine the insulated ones are better (L2Q, didn't you buy one of those?). And money IS an object. Let's say 500 tops, but I'd rather spend a LOT less. A LOT $300 would be nice... 200 better

So it's been a while since I frequented the Q boards or did any kind of research into pits. And I know there is a flue/fan device, but again, more to fiddle with. What is a nice set it and forget it kind of smoker for the novice that is really only looking to turn out a few fatties at first? Someone who is "convenience oriented"?
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Old 12-07-2012, 07:29 PM   #2
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Well I will be following this thread with some interest. I am afraid I don't have a lot of input (none!) except that my electric smoker is only really good for fish. I'd love to be able to smoke some turkey or chicken or make one of those pretty fatties, so I hope someone with some info posts soon.
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Old 12-08-2012, 07:28 AM   #3
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Getting away from the "Art" of Qing means technology (gadgets). Generally not something you would associate with "cheap". I've never used one, but a pellet smoker is probably as close as you will get. I have no idea about price. I think Savannahsmoker has one of these rigs.
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Old 12-08-2012, 07:55 AM   #4
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I'm not interested in gadgets, that's why I ruled out the flue/fan gizmo, though I've read good things about them.
I guess to simplify my post I'm more interested in a constant heat source that can maintain 225 or so in a cold climate... without having to learn the art of Q'ing. I need something relatively simple that won't produce a fail the first attempt. If that can be had in my price range.
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Old 12-08-2012, 07:56 AM   #5
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i love mine .. i just need to get off my butt and order a new control panel .. leaving it out in the rain without a cover is not good for them ...
Electric Digital Smoker
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Old 12-08-2012, 07:57 AM   #6
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also to simplify .. you can get an amaze n smoker for it .. where you can get smoke for 24 hours without adding wood ..
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Old 12-08-2012, 08:04 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by love2"Q" View Post
i love mine .. i just need to get off my butt and order a new control panel .. leaving it out in the rain without a cover is not good for them ...
Electric Digital Smoker
Yeah, that's what I'm talking about.
Do you get a nice smoke ring with this? Is it pretty simple to figure out and start your first smoke?
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Old 12-08-2012, 08:07 AM   #8
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not a great smoke ring .. lots of smoke flavor though .. its super easy to use ..
and makes the best ribs ... only issue i have .. the temp only goes up to
275 .. but thats not even a issue ..
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Old 12-08-2012, 08:08 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pacanis View Post
I'm not interested in gadgets, that's why I ruled out the flue/fan gizmo, though I've read good things about them.
I guess to simplify my post I'm more interested in a constant heat source that can maintain 225 or so in a cold climate... without having to learn the art of Q'ing. I need something relatively simple that won't produce a fail the first attempt. If that can be had in my price range.
Komodo type cooker/grill will probably be as close to what your looking for, but they are generally not cheap. I paid $900.00 for my large BGE with nest (rolling stand). They make a small, but it is still around $400.00 to $500.00. There are other brands, but the price isn't much less. You still have to play with hardwood fuel and vents, but once set it will be rock steady, with great fuel economy.
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Old 12-08-2012, 09:07 AM   #10
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Thanks L2Q. I ordered one of the ones without the glass door It's analog vs digital. 180 bucks and free shipping. That'll work.
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Old 12-08-2012, 11:47 AM   #11
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Old 12-08-2012, 12:23 PM   #12
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those bradleys are super nice ..
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Old 12-12-2012, 07:35 PM   #13
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Holy spamoli. It came in already!
Think I should break it in for my BIL?
You know, check it for function?
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Old 12-13-2012, 01:36 AM   #14
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You can get a Traeger Jr. factory direct for $400 shipped. I love mine! If you have trouble keeping the temp up in very cold weather they do sell an insulated cover/blanket for it for another $100. The Traeger will produce a very nice smoke ring and excellent flavor with zero fuss. All you have to do is periodically dump more pellets in the hopper. Pellets run around $20 most places but I have a local store that sells them for $15 (this is for a 20 lb bag). When smoking at low temps you get about an hour out of each pound. High heat requires about #2 per hour. My Jr. hits around 350-ish degrees F in cool weather.

If you want lower cost of use, I can wholeheartedly recommend Smokin-It electric smokers, too. I have a Model #3, the largest, but the #1 would be well within your price range. They're electric but very well insulated and hold their temps even in cold weather. You won't get much smoke ring but that's really just for looks. Even the KC BBQ judges don't judge on smoke ring anymore.

The Traeger will cook hotter than the electrics and you get that nice smoke ring. It still requires electricity to run; it has a motorized hopper that runs a pellet auger as well as a fan in the burn pot. The Smokin-It (or a Smokin' Tex or Cookshack, for that matter) will be cheaper to run. They're also very tightly sealed and result in moister food.

Which to choose? I use both and would hate to part with either one! If you don't mind buying pellets the Traeger has an edge in versatility as you can grill burgers & brauts on it. It doesn't get searing-the-food hot but works fine for light grilling. I've done ribeyes on my Traeger and they were tasty but you can't really do anything but well done.

Traeger is offering factor direct multi-pay too for the holidays. When I bought my Jr. I got to pay for it in three payments of $133 spread out over three months. Now they even offer 5 payments for the larger, more expensive ones. This might encourage you to buy a bigger Traeger than you otherwise might. Traeger also pays shipping and there's no tax. Shipping on my Smokin-It #3 was over $100!

Both are great smokers, each has certain strengths and weakness. Both will produce some danged good BBQ!
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Old 12-13-2012, 01:37 AM   #15
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Ooops, didn't notice you already bought one! Should've read more carefully before I wrote a book!
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Old 12-13-2012, 05:55 AM   #16
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Thanks Rob. If this one doesn't work out well I'll keep the Smokin It in mind. Nice looking unit.
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Old 12-13-2012, 07:40 AM   #17
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I thought I read on some Q/ Smokin' site somewhere that meat or smoked food only can absorb so much smoke and then no matter how much wood you keep adding it won't take in any more flavor. Like after so many hours or after the food reaches a certain temp but before it is done cooking Is this a correct assumption?

Looks like a nice unit you bought Pac. Yeh, I'd go ahead and test it out. And then go ahead take a bite from each piece in a box of Fannie Farmer candy to identify which ones might have nuts in them. And I thought I was bad thinking I could unwrap and play a cd and check it for scratches.
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Old 12-13-2012, 08:29 AM   #18
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Whiska, the popular belief when I was hanging out on a Q site or two was that the smoke ring was caused by a chemical reaction to the smoke and that the reaction can't occur above 140F. And that means no more smoke flavor can be absorbed either. That's the way I have always treated smoking.
I have only added more smoke wood once late into the Q, to flavor something I was putting on late, and the main course picked up a bitter smoke taste. It was edible, but not quite right. So I've always believed those folks knew what they were talking about.

But why electric smokers, ones that are insulated and can maintain smoking temps, can't seem to produce a decent ring is beyond me.

Great tip on the DVD's and CD's
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Old 12-14-2012, 12:59 AM   #19
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The smoke ring is a chemical reaction caused by components of actual wood combustion mixing with chemical compounds in the meat. Smoke isn't enough, you need a bit more particulates from an actual fire. You can convincingly fake the ring though with Morton Tender Quick, which is one reason the ring isn't an element in judging Q anymore. If you have enough airflow you can also burn a briquet of charcoal in the smoker; that will generally also give you the smoke ring if that's something you really want.

There is a point at which the food won't absorb any more smoke, and beyond that you're just getting soot on the outside. I don't recall the temp that occurs of the top of my head. Different foods absorb smoke at varying rates. Chicken, for example, really seems to suck up smoke. Two hours of heavy smoke will leave chicken extremely smokey. Pork ribs seem to absorb smoke more slowly.
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Old 12-16-2012, 06:22 AM   #20
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Keep talking you guys, newbie smokers like me are reading!

Right now I'm looking at a Masterbuilt propane smoker. Box vault style, two doors, in my price range. I haven't physically looked at it; so I don't know how well insulated it is, and it looks like it doesn't have wheels.

I have a propane grill. I like the easier maintenance, clean-up, and temperature control of gas over charcoal.
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